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Canadian Federation of Library Associations / Fédération canadienne des associations de bibliothèques

CFLA National Forum: Video of Keynote, Panel Discussions

May 2, 2018

The Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) held its first National Forum in Regina on May 2, 2018. Through a mix of panel sessions and round-table discussions, attendees explored two issues:

  1. Artificial Intelligence
  2. Intellectual Freedom

Recordings of the keynote and panel discussions are available to members of the Canadian library community who were unable to attend in person.

Opening Keynote

  • Bruce Walsh, Director, University of Regina Press

“Only after understanding who we truly are, can we reach our potential as a nation,” says Bruce Walsh.

That’s the epitome of this week-long conference “Libraries: Convergence under living skies!”

What does it mean to be a gallery, a library, an archive or a museum in the world today? What does it mean to be the keeper and curator of all creation when computer programs are designed to assimilate our thinking and societal changes are rocking the very foundation of protecting the rights to partake in the sharing of knowledge without repercussion?

Bruce Walsh, founding Director of the University of Regina Press and prize-winning publisher will share his experiences as an advocate for intellectual freedom, activist for Reconciliation, and entrepreneur to explore ways in which we can move the status quo without losing sight of our fundamental role in society.

Panel: Artificial Intelligence – Seize the Opportunity


  • Brent Barron, Director, Public Policy CIFAR;
  • Scott Hargrove, CEO Fraser-Valley Regional Library System;
  • Michael Ridley; PhD. Candidate in Artificial Intelligence, Librarian, Former Chief Information Officer and Chief Librarian, University of Guelph;
  • Danica Pawlick-Potts, MLIS student, School of Information Studies, Western University; current co-op librarian at Guelph.


  • Rebecca Jones, Dysart & Jones Associates

Artificial intelligence is positioned to be the mother of all disruptive technologies. What does this mean for libraries, and, most importantly, how do libraries seize AI to construct capacities and capabilities? Develop plans to integrate AI into daily functions? Use AI to mine our data and collections to create new knowledge and connections never before possible? What’s our role in facilitating community, corporate and campus decisions regarding the ethical and social implications of AI? How do we realistically plan for workplace implications? Work with the speakers and with your colleagues from across Canada to address these and other questions and help refine the agenda for actions the associations and every library must take.

Panel: Intellectual Freedom – Sustaining a Core Value


  • Dr. Mary Cavanagh, Associate Professor, School of Information Studies, University of Ottawa;
  • Dr. James Turk, Director, Centre for Free Expression & Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ryerson University;
  • Pilar Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library;
  • Dr. Marie D. Martel, Professeure adjointe, École de bibliothéconomie et sciences de l’information (EBSI), Université de Montréal.


  • Jeff Barber, Library Director and CEO, Regina Public Library

Intellectual freedom has long been recognized as one of librarianship’s core values. It is the underpinning of access to information, relates to the concept of academic freedom that is regularly being challenged within universities, and is semantic to journalism’s freedom of the press. Is the role played by libraries on intellectual freedom changing? Ideally, what should this role be? Can – and should – libraries be neutral? Work with the speakers and with your colleagues from across Canada to address these and other questions and help refine the agenda for actions the associations and every library must take.


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